2011 ACC Blogger Football Preview – ACC Champion/Full Rundown

Posted by Brandon Rink on July 24, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Picking an ACC champ, the division, week by week game picks, bowl projections and more…

Second-year FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher has a first-year QB in E.J. Manuel, but expectations aren't lowered a bit coming off winning the Atlantic last season. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

It’s almost here.

I’m on the road to Pinehurst, NC for the ACC Football Kickoff. Can’t wait to talk ACC pigskin with all 12 coaches and a couple players from each school (and hundreds of media).

We’ve done the countdown for picks for both divisions, and here’s the rundown…

Projected ACC Standings/Champion (Our ACC previews in the links)

Atlantic

1) Florida State Seminoles 8-0 (11-1 overall)
2) NC State Wolfpack 5-3 (8-4 overall)
3) Clemson Tigers 4-4 (7-5 overall)
4) Maryland Terrapins 3-5 (6-6 overall)
5) Boston College Eagles 3-5 (6-6 overall)
6) Wake Forest Demon Deacons 1-7 (3-9 overall)

Coastal

1) Virginia Tech Hokies 7-1 (11-1 overall)
2) North Carolina Tar Heels 6-2 (10-2 overall)
3) Miami Hurricanes 4-4 (8-4 overall)
4) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 3-5 (7-5 overall)
5) Virginia Cavaliers 2-6 (6-6 overall)
6) Duke Blue Devils 2-6 (4-8 overall)

ACC Championship Pick: Florida State over Virginia Tech 27-24

Analysis: Watched these two from the stands of the frozen tundra of Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte NC last year – and Virginia Tech outclassed the ‘Noles with another brilliant game from All-ACC QB Tyrod Taylor.

Now, the sides are a little more even QB-wise as E.J. Manuel was a late sub to start for the injured Christian Ponder in the ‘10 matchup. These are the two clear favorites in the ACC, and the way the schedule shapes up, could have even higher aspirations. We have a lot of football to go before early December, but FSU will be a little more tested going into this matchup and pull out a close one.

Griffin Wong has been doing his team by team previews on the site and here’s his final standings and ACC Champ…

Atlantic

1) Florida State 10-2 (7-1 ACC)
2) Maryland 10-2 (7-1 ACC)
3) NC State 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
4) Clemson 6-6 (4-4 ACC)
5) Boston College 7-5 (3-5 ACC)
6) Wake Forest 2-10 (0-8 ACC)

Coastal

1) Virginia Tech 12-0 (8-0 ACC)
2) Miami 9-3 (5-3 ACC)
3) UNC 8-4 (4-4 ACC)
4) GT 6-6 (3-5 ACC)
5) UVA 6-6 (2-6 ACC)
6) Duke 4-8 (1-7 ACC)

ACC Championship Pick: VT over FSU.

Analysis: I love Florida State’s talent, but I have to go with experience in this one. The Hokies have been there before, winning the ACC 3 out of the last 4 years (including a 44-33 win over Florida State last season).

Contributor J.J. Greenstein offers his divisional picks and ACC champ…

Atlantic

1. Florida State: Though they lost Christian Ponder, they’re replacing him with EJ Manuel, who has a Gator Bowl MVP and experience against three ACC teams, Oklahoma, and was 11-15 with a touchdown pass against South Carolina in last year’s Chik-Fil-A Bowl. The ‘Noles also return their top two rushers and receivers- the offense may be better than it was last year with Ponder. The ‘Noles also return a ton of talent on defense. Watch out!

2. N.C. State: Quarterback Russell Wilson has transferred to Wisconsin, and it’s time to move on. Mike Glennon will be fine for the Pack, who will have an improved offensive line and a running back group that is in much better shape going into this year than it was a year ago. With an improved defense (yes, better even with the loss of linebacker Nate Irving), especially in the secondary, which is full of upper-classmen, this team can improve on last year’s nine win season.

3. Clemson: Questions surround Tajh Boyd, who has only completed 52% of his passes in mop-up duty. They do return Andre Ellington and a talented offensive line. The defense lots quite a bit of talent, but should still be successful. As for me having them picked so low, Dabo Swinney struggles to get the best out of the talent he has on the roster, as apparent in last season’s under .500 finish

4. Maryland: The Terrapins return the ACC’s best quarterback, along with a new coach and system. It still baffles me why they let the Fridge go after a season where he was named the ACC’s Coach of the Year. The new system will set them back, along with the loss of talented wide-out Torrey Smith. They have a tough conference schedule as they must travel to Florida State and NC State and play cross-divisional games against Miami and Georgia Tech.

5. Boston College: Montel Harris returns for the Eagles, which is huge because, in my opinion, he is the most talented running back in the conference. The quarterback situation is still messy, so the Eagles will have to rely on their defense to keep them in games. I’m not sure if they can do it, with conference road games at Clemson, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Miami. If Chase Rettig can figure things out under center, maybe the Eagles could make some noise, but with their schedule that will be tough.

6. Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons return 17 starters from last year’s team- but the defense last season was horrendous at times- as they gave up over 35 points per game. Running back Josh Harris will need to spark the offense for Wake Forest to make a bowl game. He’ll need to get into a rhythm quickly as the Deacons start their season with six of their first seven games being in-conference.

Coastal

1. Virginia Tech: Until proven otherwise, the Hokies run the ACC. While Logan Thomas is unlikely to be as productive in his first year as Tyrod Taylor was, the Hokies are just reloading and he’ll have plenty of weapons to work with this season. The defense is expected to be solid like usual for a Frank Beamer team. As long as they can get past Appalachian State and East Carolina, they could possibly make a run at going undefeated.

2. Miami: New head coach Al Golden has sparked new energy in a program that had seemed to have lost its swagger. They’ll be solid up front on both sides of the ball and have the luxury of having two quarterbacks with starting experience in Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris. The secondary may be the ‘Canes biggest weakness- and it will be tested often as they play a tough schedule that includes road games at Florida State and Virginia Tech.

3. North Carolina: Like Miami, Carolina’s strength is on the offensive and defensive lines. They also return their receiving corps in tact from last season. New quarterback Bryn Renner is untested (he’s only thrown two passes in his career) and will need to get into a rhythm for the Tar Heels to have a successful season.

4. Georgia Tech: The Jackets surprised many with their unsuccessful season following their 2009 ACC Title- wait that never happened, my bad. They must replace Josh Nesbitt and their top running back, Anthony Allen. The defense was a liability last season and should improve some this season. I don’t see this team winning more than three conference games, and I would bet Paul Johnson finds himself on the hot seat fairly soon.

5. Virginia: I’ve said many times before that Mike London will do a good job at UVa, but it’s going to take time. Their schedule looks too tough for them to pull out six wins; their three cross-divisional games are against the top three Atlantic teams from last season. They brought in a top 25 recruiting class and they’ll be where they want to be soon if they can continue doing that, but patience is a virtue right now in Charlottesville.

6. Duke: The Blue Devils’ passing game is going to put up a lot of points this season, and they’re going to need every one of them as their defense- which just lost safety Issac Blakeney for the season due to suspension. Quarterback Sean Renfree better be incredible if this team wants to make a bowl game this year under Coach David Cutcliffe.

ACC Championship Pick: Virginia Tech – Like last year, the Hokies will prevail over the Seminoles. Though, this season I look for Virginia Tech’s defense to step up and win the game. Ball control with David Wilson will make the difference in keeping the Seminoles defense on the field.

Clemson made changes in the staff on both sides of the ball - most notably, offensive coordinator Chad Morris from Tulsa. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

Week by week game picks (Brandon’s)

Date Opponent Pick
09/01/11 Western Carolina @ Georgia Tech GT 38-13
Wake Forest @ Syracuse SU 20-13
09/03/11 Northwestern @ Boston College BC 17-13
Appalachian State @ Virginia Tech VT 38-10
James Madison @ North Carolina UNC 31-17
Troy @ Clemson CU 41-17
ULM @ Florida State FSU 49-10
Liberty @ NC State NCSU 44-21
William & Mary @ Virginia UVa 31-13
Richmond @ Duke Duke 31-17
09/05/11 Miami @ Maryland

Week One Standings

Atlantic

1)       MD: 1-0 (1-0)
2)       FSU: 0-0 (1-0)
3)       BC: 0-0 (1-0)
4)       CU: 0-0 (1-0)
5)       NCSU: 0-0 (1-0)
6)       WF: 0-0 (0-1)

Coastal

1)       VT: 0-0 (1-0)
2)       GT: 0-0 (1-0)
3)       UNC: 0-0 (1-0)
4)       Duke: 0-0 (1-0)
5)       UVa: 0-0 (1-0)
6)       UM: 0-1 (0-1)

MD 24-17
09/10/11 Rutgers @ North Carolina UNC 31-20
NC State @ Wake Forest NCSU 17-13
Stanford @ Duke Stanford 41-24
Wofford @ Clemson CU 49-10
Charleston Southern @ Florida State FSU 56-10
Boston College @ UCF BC 19-17
Georgia Tech @ Middle Tennessee State GT 38-24
Virginia @ Indiana UVa 20-16
Virginia Tech @ East Carolina

Week Two Standings

Atlantic

1)       MD: 1-0 (1-0)
2)       NCSU: 1-0 (2-0)
3)       BC: 0-0 (2-0)
4)       CU: 0-0 (2-0)
5)       FSU: 0-0 (2-0)
6)       WF: 0-1 (0-2)

Coastal

1)       VT: 0-0 (2-0)
2)       GT: 0-0 (2-0)
3)       UNC: 0-0 (2-0)
4)       UVa: 0-0 (2-0)
5)       Duke: 0-0 (1-1)
6)       UM: 0-1 (0-1)

VT 31-21
09/17/11 Auburn @ Clemson CU 24-17
West Virginia @ Maryland MD 27-24
Duke @ Boston College BC 21-17
Kansas @ Georgia Tech GT 24-14
Virginia @ North Carolina UNC 27-17
Arkansas State @ Virginia Tech VT 45-6
South Alabama @ NC State NCSU 42-17
Gardner-Webb @ Wake Forest WF 49-17
Ohio State @ Miami UM 28-21
Oklahoma @ Florida State

Week Three Standings

Atlantic

1)   NCSU: 1-0 (3-0)
2)       BC: 1-0 (3-0)
3)    MD: 1-0 (2-0)
4)       CU: 0-0 (3-0)
5)       FSU: 0-0 (2-1)
6)       WF: 0-1 (1-2)

Coastal

1)       UNC: 1-0 (3-0)
2)       VT: 0-0 (3-0)
3)       GT: 0-0 (3-0)
4)       UVa: 0-1 (2-1)
5)       UM: 0-1 (1-1)
6)       Duke: 0-1 (1-2)

OU 27-23
09/22/11 NC State @ Cincinnati UC 24-21
09/24/11 Florida State @ Clemson FSU 27-24
Kansas State @ Miami UM 24-21
Massachusetts @ Boston College BC 42-17
North Carolina @ Georgia Tech GT 14-10
Southern Miss @ Virginia UVa 27-20
Temple @ Maryland MD 31-17
Tulane @ Duke Duke 42-24
Virginia Tech @ Marshall

Through One Month

Atlantic

1)   BC: 1-0 (4-0)
2)   MD: 1-0 (3-0)
3)   NCSU: 1-0 (3-1)
4)       FSU: 1-0 (3-1)
5)       CU: 0-1 (3-1)
6)       WF: 0-1 (1-2)

Coastal

1)       GT: 1-0 (4-0)
2)       UNC: 1-1 (3-1)
3)       VT: 0-0 (4-0)
4)       UVa: 0-1 (3-1)
5)       UM: 0-1 (2-1)
6)       Duke: 0-1 (2-2)

VT 55-17
10/01/11 Bethune Cookman @ Miami UM 38-10
Clemson @ Virginia Tech VT 31-17
Duke @ FIU FIU 28-27
Georgia Tech @ NC State NCSU 21-14
Idaho @ Virginia UVa 31-13
North Carolina @ East Carolina UNC 31-28
Towson @ Maryland MD 55-10
Wake Forest @ Boston College

Week Five Standings

Atlantic

1)   BC: 2-0 (5-0)
2)   NCSU 2-0 (4-1)
3)   MD: 1-0 (4-0)
4)   FSU: 1-0 (3-1)
5)   CU: 0-2 (3-2)
6)   WF: 0-2 (1-3)

Coastal

1)       VT: 1-0 (5-0)
2)       GT: 1-1 (4-1)
3)       UNC: 1-1 (4-1)
4)       UVa: 0-1 (4-1)
5)       UM: 0-1 (3-1)
6)       Duke: 0-1 (2-3)

BC 24-13
10/08/11 Boston College @ Clemson CU 24-20
C. Michigan @ NC State NCSU 48-17
Florida State @ Wake Forest FSU 34-14
Louisville @ North Carolina UNC 27-16
Maryland @ Georgia Tech GT 17-14
Miami @ Virginia Tech

Week Six Standings
Atlantic
1)   NCSU: 2-0 (5-1)
2)       FSU: 2-0 (4-1)
3)       BC: 2-1 (5-1)
4)       MD: 1-1 (4-1)
5)       CU: 1-2 (4-2)
6)       WF: 0-3 (1-4)

Coastal

1)       VT: 2-0 (6-0)
2)       GT: 2-1 (5-1)
3)       UNC: 1-1 (5-1)
4)       UVa: 0-1 (4-1)
5)       Duke: 0-1 (2-3)
6)       UM: 0-2 (3-2)

VT 31-10
10/15/11 Clemson @ Maryland CU 24-21
Florida State @ Duke FSU 38-17
Georgia Tech @ Virginia UVa 24-21
Miami @ North Carolina UNC 20-14
Virginia Tech @ Wake Forest

Week Seven Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 3-0 (5-1)
2)       NCSU: 2-0 (5-1)
3)       BC: 2-1 (5-1)
4)       CU: 2-2 (5-2)
5)       MD: 1-2 (4-2)
6)       WF: 0-4 (1-5)

Coastal

1)       VT: 3-0 (7-0)
2)       UNC: 2-1 (6-1)
3)       GT: 2-2 (5-2)
4)       UVa: 1-1 (5-1)
5)       Duke: 0-2 (2-4)
6)       UM: 0-3 (3-3)

VT 38-17
10/22/11 Boston College @ Virginia Tech VT 27-16
Georgia Tech @ Miami UM 24-17
Maryland @ Florida State FSU 24-13
NC State @ Virginia NCSU 21-17
North Carolina @ Clemson CU 28-24
Wake Forest @ Duke

Week Eight Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 4-0 (6-1)
2)       NCSU: 3-0 (6-1)
3)       CU: 3-2 (6-2)
4)       BC: 2-2 (5-2)
5)       MD: 1-3 (4-3)
6)       WF: 0-5 (1-6)

Coastal

1)       VT: 4-0 (8-0)
2)       UNC: 2-2 (6-2)
3)       GT: 2-3 (5-3)
4)       UVa: 1-2: (5-2)
5)       Duke: 1-2 (3-4)
6)       UM: 1-3 (4-3)

Duke 31-28
10/27/11 Virginia @ Miami UM 31-16
10/29/11 Boston College @ Maryland MD 20-17
Clemson @ Georgia Tech GT 28-24
NC State @ Florida State FSU 27-17
Virginia Tech @ Duke VT 31-17
Wake Forest @ North Carolina

Through Two Months…

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 5-0 (7-1)
2)       NCSU: 3-1 (6-2)
3)       CU: 3-3 (6-3)
4)       BC: 2-3 (5-3)
5)       MD: 2-3 (5-3)
6)       WF: 0-6 (1-7)

Coastal

1)       VT: 5-0 (9-0)
2)       UNC: 3-2 (7-2)
3)       GT: 3-3 (6-3)
4)       UM: 2-3 (5-3)
5)       UVa: 1-3 (5-3)
6)       Duke: 1-3 (5-3)

UNC  28-20
11/03/11 Florida State @ Boston College FSU 24-16
11/05/11 Duke @ Miami UM 24-21
North Carolina @ NC State UNC 21-17
Notre Dame @ Wake Forest ND 34-17
Virginia @ Maryland

Week 10 Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 6-0 (8-1)*
2)       CU: 4-2 (7-2)
3)       NCSU: 3-2 (6-3)
4)       MD: 3-3 (6-3)
5)       BC: 2-4 (5-4)
6)       WF: 0-6 (1-8)

Coastal

1)       VT: 5-0 (9-0)
2)       UNC: 4-2 (8-2)
3)       UM: 3-3 (6-3)
4)       GT: 3-3 (6-3)
5)       UVa: 1-4 (5-4)
6)       Duke: 1-4 (3-6)

*Clinched Atlantic

MD 24-20
11/10/11 Virginia Tech @ Georgia Tech VT 22-17
11/12/11 Maryland vs. Notre Dame ND 27-17
Duke @ Virginia UVa 28-20
Miami @ Florida State FSU 27-21
NC State @ Boston College BC 23-17
Wake Forest @ Clemson

Week 11 Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 7-0 (9-1)*
2)       CU: 4-3 (7-3)
3)       NCSU: 3-3 (6-4)
4)       MD: 3-3 (6-4)
5)       BC: 3-4 (6-4)
6)       WF: 0-7 (1-9)

Coastal

1)       VT: 6-0 (10-0)
2)       UNC: 4-2 (8-2)
3)       UM: 3-4 (6-4)
4)       GT: 3-4 (6-4)
5)       UVa: 2-4 (6-4)
6)       Duke: 1-4(3-7)

*Clinched Atlantic

CU 38-21
11/17/11 North Carolina @ Virginia Tech UNC 23-21
11/19/11 Boston College @ Notre Dame ND 24-17
Clemson @ NC State NCSU  28-26
Georgia Tech @ Duke Duke 31-28
Maryland @ Wake Forest WF 24-21
Miami @ USF UM 28-24
Virginia @ Florida State

Week 12 Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 8-0 (10-1)*
2)       NCSU: 4-3 (7-4)
3)       CU: 4-4 (7-4)
4)       BC: 3-4 (6-5)
5)       MD: 3-4 (6-5)
6)       WF: 1-7 (2-9)

Coastal

1)       VT: 6-1 (10-1)
2)       UNC: 5-2 (9-2)
3)       UM: 3-4 (7-4)
4)       GT: 3-5 (6-5)
5)       UVa: 2-5 (6-5)
6)       Duke: 2-5 (4-7)

*Clinched Atlantic

FSU 35-14
11/25/11 Boston College @ Miami UM 28-23
11/26/11 Clemson @ South Carolina SC 31-21
Duke @ North Carolina UNC 27-17
Florida State @ Florida FSU 24-20
Georgia @ Georgia Tech GT 28-27
Maryland @ NC State NCSU 24-17
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest WF 27-17
Virginia Tech @ Virginia

Final Regular Season Standings

Atlantic

1)       FSU: 8-0 (11-1)*
2)       NCSU: 5-3 (8-4)
3)       CU: 4-4 (7-5)
4)       MD: 3-5 (6-6)
5)       BC: 3-5 (6-6)
6)       WF: 1-7 (3-9)

Coastal

1)       VT: 7-1 (11-1)#
2)       UNC: 6-2 (10-2)
3)       UM: 4-4 (8-4)
4)       GT: 3-5 (6-5)
5)       UVa: 2-6 (6-6)
6)       Duke: 2-6 (4-8)

*Clinched Atlantic

#Clinched Coastal

VT 27-13

—————-

Bowl Projections!

Orange: Florida State
Sugar: Virginia Tech
Chick-Fil-A: NC State
Champ Sports: UNC
Sun Bowl: Clemson
Meineke Car Care: Miami
Music City: Georgia Tech
Independence: Maryland
Military: Virginia
Emerald: Boston College

Bonus Thoughts…

1) Two BCS bowls teams for the first time in conference history. Virginia Tech and FSU might not necessarily be the best of the best, but the conference and OOC schedules are conducive to impressive final records. I don’t think either could afford a second loss in making a BCS bowl as an at-large though.

2) National champ shot? Probably not, but we’ve seen some weird stuff over the years with the BCS. Phil Steele has Bama/Oklahoma in the final, which would definitely be a scenario that would exclude the ‘Noles with a loss to OU projected. The ACC’s lack of national power over the years will work against the ‘Noles or the Hokies regardless. They’ll need to run the table for the best chance at it.

3) We ended up with 10 ACC bowl teams. Honestly, it’s not because I think the conference is going to be great – it’s more like the middle of the conference is so mediocre that they’ll all be around the six win mark.

4) More on Virginia Tech…UNC might not be where they lose (pre-ACC Championship anyways), but I don’t think they’ll go 12-0 so that’s the one that stood out to me. It’s the week after playing the physical Yellow Jackets – Virginia Tech lost at home to UNC on a Thursday in this scenario in 2009. But it could be more like last season where they won 28-21 over the Jackets and went on the road to Chapel Hill for a 26-10 win. Georgia Tech is another option for the one loss – Hokies fell 28-23 down in Atlanta in 2009. Of course, it could be fluky too like ECU or Duke or dare I say it Hokies’ fans, Virginia? Again, not 100% certain where it comes, but don’t think they’ll go 12-0.

5) I’m probably over-optimistic on OOC games. If Georgia were to go into GT and win, that knocks the Jackets down to six wins and on the edge for a bowl. Same goes for BC/UCF. If those swing the other way, the ACC could go from 10 to eight, but the quantity of teams wouldn’t be as big a deal as grabbing two BCS slots.

Your turn…

2011 ACC Preview: Who wins the ACC?

  • UNC (74%, 124 Votes)
  • FSU (11%, 19 Votes)
  • NC State (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Clemson (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Virginia Tech (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Maryland (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Boston College (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Georgia Tech (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Virginia (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Miami (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Duke (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Wake Forest (1%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 167

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